Backpacking New Zealand, Our Top Things To Do
backpacking travel new zealand gap year stray kiwi experience bucket list

New Zealand is an incredible place to travel and backpack and there are heaps of things to see and do across both the North and South Islands.

So much so that it can’t be tough to figure out how to fit everything into your New Zealand trip in a single go…unless you’re on a working holiday visa of course!

Luckily our team have spent a solid amount of time enjoying the land of the long white cloud, experiencing everything it has to offer and enjoying some amazing Kiwi hospitality.

No matter if you’re cruising around on the Kiwi Experience or a Stray New Zealand pass you’ll be spoilt for things to fill your day with, so here are some of our top to dos across the North and South Islands to get your NZ bucket list started…


North Island

From the cityscapes of Auckland to the pumping surf of Raglan. The smell of Rotorua (seriously it’s geothermal vents give it a distinct odour!) to the wind blown capital of Wellington – the North Island of New Zealand is often overlooked in favour of the South, yet it has so much to offer!

  • Kayak around Cathedral Cove
  • Visit Hobbiton
  • Go Black Water Rafting in Waitomo
  • Surf in Raglan
  • Explore the Bay of Islands
  • Immerse yourself in traditional culture on a Maori Homestay
  • Check out the geo thermal hotspots of Rotorua
  • Skydive in Taupo
  • Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
  • Spend a day in Te Papa Museum, Wellington


South Island

The South Island is a firm backpacker favourite – with the adrenaline hotspot of Queenstown being the hub of many travellers stays in New Zealand. If you want to jump out of planes, hike through ice caves or get back to nature the South Island is somewhere you’ll always come back wanting more from…

  • Hike on Franz Josef Glacier
  • Swim with wild dolphins in Kaikoura
  • Cruise around Milford or Doubtful Sound
  • Bungee jump, skydive or whitewater raft in Queenstown
  • Tackle a snow season in the mountains
  • Stare into the turquoise goodness of Lake Tekapo
  • Get back to nature in Abel Tasman National Park


Have you travelled around New Zealand? Anything you’d add to the list?

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October 21, 2015
Some fab tips here, thanks. I've never been to New Zealand but it is definitely on my list of places to go! This article gives me a great starting point for when I come to plan my trip - thanks!

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